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Activision, Double Fine Join With Steam 94

Posted by Zonk
from the guns-wars-and-psychics dept.
Gamespot reports on the expected arrival of Double Fine's Psychonauts on Steam, and the unexpected announcement that Activision is now offering games on the service. Titles from the company include Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and Gun, which was developed by Neversoft. From that article: "Whenever Valve does open the digital spigot on the four Activision games, they will join an increasing number of third-party titles available on Steam. This week, Majesco's critical hit Psychonauts was made available on the service, and Ubisoft's Dark Messiah of Might & Magic will launch on the service later this month."
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Activision, Double Fine Join With Steam

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  • by yincrash (854885) on Friday October 13, 2006 @01:56PM (#16427869)
    Valve is on it's way to becoming a bigger publisher of other people's games. It's a new avenue of offering games that is definitely in use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by chroot_james (833654)
      It's almost like steam coming out of a valve!
    • by NekoXP (67564) on Friday October 13, 2006 @02:10PM (#16428163) Homepage
      Having pissed off their previous publisher because they wanted to do things the publisher hated, and hating everything the publisher did anyway, and knowing that every other game developer hates the way the publisher treats them, being a Good Publisher should be very easy for Valve.

      And at the end of the day, giving them a feature list:

      * We are not assholes like Vivendi or suchlike.
      * No box costs! No crappy CD copyprotection breaking the game for 25% of your users! Automatic patching so you can keep the games notbreaking for the paying public! You get more money!

      I think that is a compelling set of two-ish arguments to put your game on Steam and rake in some well-earned cash.
      • And at the end of the day, giving them a feature list:

        • In order to buy even single-player games through Valve, players need to sign up for residential high-speed Internet access. Many geographic areas can't get this at all; others charge $480 for the first year of service.
        • In order to buy games suitable for everyone or for teens through Valve, players need to be 18 or older.

        Automatic patching so you can keep the games notbreaking for the paying public!

        Widespread humiliation in the gaming press when dif

        • by Osty (16825)

          others charge $480 for the first year of service.

          $480/year is $40/mo which is a generally reasonable price for broadband. If you were implying that they require $480 up front for a year of service, that's different than charging $480 over a year.

          Maybe other services should quote in yearly prices. I don't pay $15/mo for Netflix. I pay $180/year! I don't pay ~$90/mo to the power company. I pay $1080/year! I don't have a $3 cup of coffee once a week. I pay Starbucks $144/year!

          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by Senzei (791599)
            I don't have a $3 cup of coffee once a week. I pay Starbucks $144/year!
            A cup of coffee a week? Ok, admit it you either are not a nerd or you are a coffee snob with a secret Starbucks addiction.
            • by Osty (16825)

              A cup of coffee a week? Ok, admit it you either are not a nerd or you are a coffee snob with a secret Starbucks addiction.

              I'm probably just weird. I'll hang out at Starbucks for a bit on Saturdays, reading and drinking a latte. The rest of the week, I'm just too busy to get out for coffee, and the stuff at work isn't much worth drinking. Coffee for me is more of a social thing than a caffeine thing.

          • $480/year is $40/mo which is a generally reasonable price for broadband. If you were implying that they require $480 up front for a year of service, that's different than charging $480 over a year.

            I was complaining that residential high-speed Internet access providers tend to want a commitment to a year of service up front. They charge $480 for the first day and $0 for the next 364 days, and spread that payment of $480 over twelve monthly installments. Such an arrangement is not practical for, say, univer

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by jascat (602034)
              Maybe some DSL providers require a service contract, but not a single cable company I have used has required it. Besides requiring a phone line, contracts have what kept me away from DSL. That and cable tends to offer higher speeds. I can deal with a few blocked ports and a non-static IP.
              • Maybe some DSL providers require a service contract, but not a single cable company I have used has required it.

                Cable companies, on the other hand, like to tie their Internet access subscriptions to a cable television subscription.

                • by iocat (572367)
                  Nah, they don't. I mean, they may like to, and they may offer a discount if you get both, but they're happy to sell you just cable. At least Comcast is. My dad and I buy cable and Internet for our "cabin" in nothern michigan for the summer. It's pretty straightforward; easy to turn on, and easy to turn off.
                • by Kagenin (19124)
                  And your argument about broadband STILL has nothing to do with Steam.
                  • by tepples (727027)
                    And your argument about broadband STILL has nothing to do with Steam.

                    As far as I know, everything I've said in this digression has related to the following question: How does Steam reduce the cost to end users who purchase a PC game if a significant fraction of end users do not have access to broadband on the same machine used to play the game?

                    • by KDR_11k (778916)
                      What if most developers and publishers just assume that those who are willing to keep their PC up to date enough to play games (which is an active choice when all the "office" PCs ship with integrated graphics only) are willing to get broadband internet, too?
                    • by tepples (727027)

                      What if most developers and publishers just assume that those who are willing to keep their PC up to date enough to play games (which is an active choice when all the "office" PCs ship with integrated graphics only) are willing to get broadband internet, too?

                      Then they will lose customers to the larger publishers who are capable of putting boxes in stores. Developers too small to get their product into the retail chain are more likely to be developers of casual games that run fine with integrated graphics

                    • by KDR_11k (778916)
                      Then they will lose customers to the larger publishers who are capable of putting boxes in stores.

                      Of course but I'd say they're losing more customers by pricing their game at 50$ instead of, say, 10$.
            • by Osty (16825)

              I was complaining that residential high-speed Internet access providers tend to want a commitment to a year of service up front. They charge $480 for the first day and $0 for the next 364 days, and spread that payment of $480 over twelve monthly installments. Such an arrangement is not practical for, say, university students home on summer break.

              I've never heard of this. I've seen some places that do offer yearly charges rather than monthly as paying everything up front will often be a bit cheaper (Xbo

              • yes, most places will lock you into a year or two, but there are ways out (tell them you're moving to a location where you can't get their service).

                Good luck getting the phone company to believe this excuse three times in a row: once before the sophomore year of college, once before the junior year of college, and once before the senior year of college.

                A cell phone is probably a better comparison.

                No it isn't. A DSL or cable Internet access subscription covers only a single house, while a mobile phone

                • by KDR_11k (778916)
                  They don't give a fuck about people whose home connection is behind a firewall that blocks Steam (e.g. dorm connection), why do you expect them to care about the three people who leave internet coverage every now and then?
              • by DeadChobi (740395)
                The people in the Charter Communications office where I live said flat out that when the introductory offer I've got runs out in three months, that they would be happy to sign me up with a new one if I went into their office and asked for it. I've not seen one indication that they will be holding me for any length of time on any of the literature they've given me. I think they're more concerned with keeping paying customers than with forcing me to pay for service that I can't afford. In my part of the US, n
            • by Dev59 (953144)
              I know I'm being redundant, but I've never heard of such a thing. Every cable or DSL provider I've EVER heard of uses monthly payments and not an up front charge.
              • They charge $480 [...] over twelve monthly installments.

                Every cable or DSL provider I've EVER heard of uses monthly payments and not an up front charge.

                That's what I said. A lot of geographic areas don't have any form of broadband Internet access that doesn't involve a 12-month commitment. The use case is that if I get Internet access connected, pay for one month of Internet access, buy a game that is not sold in stores, and get the Internet access disconnected, I still have to pay for eleven months that

                • by Dev59 (953144)
                  Wow. Umm, I said that backwards. I've NEVER heard of a broadband service provider who demands an up-front charge. Every single one I've ever heard of wants monthly payments.
                  • by tepples (727027)
                    Every single [provider] I've ever heard of wants monthly payments.

                    I already said that. My point is that because of the 12 month minimum commitment for residential service, they continue to bill you after you've canceled.

        • by Sigma 7 (266129)

          In order to buy even single-player games through Valve, players need to sign up for residential high-speed Internet access.

          I've downloaded an ISO through a dial-up connection - it took 2-4 weeks.

          I'm sure that the various single player games would take a similar amount of time - or if they are "optimized", it would download the most critical content first (e.g. models, textures) so that you can at least make some progress within the game before the next download point. I know Source Engine games have this a

          • by tepples (727027)

            I've downloaded an ISO through a dial-up connection - it took 2-4 weeks.

            Compare to the 1 day turnaround of planning a trip to the local computer game store. Of course, the developer could optimize the game's file size, but not all game artists have the procedural ski11z of the .kkrieger [wikipedia.org] developers.

            Isn't this almost true for any online business?

            This is not true for brick-and-mortar business. The context is Steam as an alternative to distribution in brick-and-mortar stores. As of 2006, bricks and mortar

        • by NekoXP (67564)
          You never did complete Half-Life did you?
    • by zdude255 (1013257)
      True, not everybody likes to have their games through a service like valve, but for those who do valve does it well, which is the key to keeping people happy with the service. I see a lot of potential but have a feeling the growth will be gradual.
    • by loraksus (171574)
      Or biggest.
      Any why not? Sure, they've had problems, but overall, the service is much more reliable than buying games on cds that are sometimes defective or missing cd keys because employees stole them - to say nothing of the good old days of floppy disks.

  • You mean I don't have to get off my ass to finally get my PC copy of Call of Duty 2???? I'm totally there!!!
  • by SaidinUnleashed (797936) on Friday October 13, 2006 @02:13PM (#16428237)
    If Psychonauts gets more recognition, I'll be happy. I picked up that game for :10bux: at Half-Price Books and have felt bad about it because it is such an awesome game and well worth the original proce of 50bux. Go buy this game. It is GREAT.
    • Psychonauts is an awesome game, I bought it for the Xbox when it came out.

      I think it's also worth mentioning that Gun is equally an awesome game that didn't get much recognition. For those who haven't played it it's an "old-west" action game some RPG and GTA style elements thrown in, the graphics aren't the greatest but the game has a solid storyline and is damn fun with lots of stuff to explore for plenty of replay value. Most people I talk to either haven't played it/don't know anything about it, or ha
  • Just wonderful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Steam is THE reason that I pirate these games. Honestly, I love the HL series enough to buy HL, HL2, and even EP1, but having to run Steam to even play the games, I'd rather get the games from another source.

    It insists on running upon startup. You have to start it to play any game, at which time it calls home and checks for unnecessary updates and (of course) let's the publisher know that you're still playing their games.

    What happened to the days when product sales actually let the industry know how many pe
    • I'm sure it's not your only complaint, but Steam does not insist on running on startup. I simply used MSCONFIG to remove it from startup and Steam has not tried to put itself back in there like QT and Real does. I'm sure there might be a setting in Steam as well, but I have not locked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SScorpio (595836)
      If you right click a game in Steam and select properties you can uncheck the box that says "Keep this game up to date". Unchecking the box stops Steam from automatically patching the game.

      The whole calling home thing is the copy protection to make sure that you are validated to play the game. At least this way you don't have to put up with CD checks like Starforce that can mess up your system. The only issue with this method of distribution is the whole selling of used games. With a CD check you can jus
      • Thats not all (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crabpeople (720852)

        "The whole calling home thing is the copy protection to make sure that you are validated to play the game."

        Thats not all that they are doing with steam. With episode one (and im sure everything else) they actually track such things [steampowered.com] as how many times you die, by what, what you were doing at the time, how much time it takes you to pass different parts, etc... This is kind of worrying to me, because if they are tracking that, what else are they tracking? Do they log keystrokes too? would they admit it if they

        • by jhembruff (996103)
          That kind of data is a designer's wet dream. They can see if new engine featuers are being utilized by enough people to make it worthwhile (like HDR), how long on average people sit down to play for (to help them with pacing), how many people are actually finishing the game, or if people are giving up because it gets too difficult. As for logging keystrokes, do you get paranoid that MS also logs your keystrokes? I don't really see the gain for Valve to secretly log your keystrokes (unless they want a hug
        • by Khyber (864651)
          Yea, you got scammed, especially when you could've traded what you paid for that gravity gun for a Singularity Cannon from Unreal II, which does *FAR* more damage, to *MULTIPLE* people (and it sucks them all in and distorts their bodies in so many different ways!!!) Epic had it first, remember that one, pal. ;) You're just buying a re-hash at a lower technology scale. Would you do that in the real world? :)
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The whole calling home thing is the copy protection to make sure that you are validated to play the game. At least this way you don't have to put up with CD checks like Starforce that can mess up your system.

        You know, I have actually bought games that have no copy-protection, like Alpha Centauri. I paid for them because they're good games, and don't have any copy protection. The first thing I do when I install a game I paid for is go look for a no-CD-check patch.

        The only issue with this method of dis

      • The whole calling home thing is the copy protection to make sure that you are validated to play the game.

        That's why I bought the original Half-Life, and now that Steam *INSISTS* on me updating it (They auto-check your shit, BTW, for version compatibility,) I can't play it anymore, bcause someone with a keygen ripped off my original Half-Life serial. Yet Valve/Sierra won't do a mother-fucking thing to fix it, even though I have given them copies and OFFERED LIVE VIDEO for them to see that I truly bought
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          Had the same problem with my HL key but after I told them I had Gunman Chronicles (by inputting the CD key of that) they suddently acknowledged that I have HL1. Not that it matters, I haven't used HL1 or the other stuff that comes with it once since I started using Steam (other than a non-Steam version that always gets used on LANs). And TBH I'd have preferred had it recognized Gunman instead of Half-Life, GC was much more fun. Wish they'd have made a sequel and episodes to that instead of Half-Life...
      • by kalirion (728907)
        And how do you play those games if your internet connection goes down? Or you're between providers? One appeal of single-player games used to be that as long as your computer was functioning you could play them.
        • by SScorpio (595836)
          Steam has an offline mode it falls back to if you do not have an internet connection. You must successfully connect to the server once to validate what you have access to. Unplug your enternet cable or disable your network adapter and see what happens.
    • Re:Just wonderful (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Keith Russell (4440) * <{moc.liamg} {ta} {llessur.htiek}> on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:03PM (#16429173) Journal
      It insists on running upon startup.

      It defaults to running on startup. You can turn that off in the Options dialog.

      checks for unnecessary updates

      Back home, we call those "bug fixes".

      let's the publisher know that you're still playing their games

      Well, I haven't gotten a nastygram from Valve for not playing enough Day of Defeat:Source, so no harm, no foul.

      What happened to the days when product sales actually let the industry know how many people were playing/enjoying their games?

      What happened for me? Deux Ex: Invisible War. Bought it, played about two hours of it, and got sick of the console-based dumbing down, tiny zones, and constant barrage of lecturing from NPCs on the radio. Put it back on the shelf. All Eidos knew was that a particular shipment to the Best Buy on McKnight Road sold out after n days on the shelf. There's a big difference between "Sales are OK, but tapering off, and the critics aren't too happy" and "According to our aggregate numbers, everybody's giving up before the plot moves out of Seattle."

      • And I don't need to say much else, given my topic said it all. You show a heavy bias towards multi-player games with your comments, and lots for the wrong reasons. Go check some of my other posts on this thread so you get a *TRUE* consumer taste of what's up, instead of something so easily pirated like Deus Ex (I still own the original CD, yet I choose to play a pirated version because it works better without me needing to scratch my CD, thus forcing a re-purchase of a game a few months later that I already
        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          You can't handle a CD for months without breaking it? Even my worst abused CDs still run perfectly fine (except for the music in Total Annihilation), after I learned to put them back into their cases instead of piling them on my desk my discs don't have a scratch even a year later.
    • As much as I'd love to play the Half-Life games, it looks like I can't. I recently saw HL1 on sale for $20 or so with Counterstrike etc., and bought it. Then I looked closely and realized it wasn't the stand-alone game I thought it was: I'd have to be online and ask Valve's permission every time I wanted to play. I returned the game unopened and tried to tell the clerk I wouldn't be buying any such game, but it didn't do any good; his reaction was basically, "Hey man, we don't make the games." Having to go
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      ...So turn off the run-at-startup option. A /lot/ of programs want to run at startup. I just don't let them.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by DrSkwid (118965)
      jeesh, why not just post "I am lame, I get my mom to switch on teh computar"
    • by UltraAyla (828879)
      personally, I'd rather have this over some other sort of dreaded copy protection scheme where the game doesn't work or my whole computer gets security holes blown in it, but that's just my preference.

      also, there are many ways to get steam to not run at startup, one of which is a setting withing the software, the others involve msconfig, or editing your registry. Take a look around, you'll be pleasantly suprised.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        personally, I'd rather have this over some other sort of dreaded copy protection scheme where the game doesn't work or my whole computer gets security holes blown in it, but that's just my preference.

        Yes and I'd rather have the Red-Black coalition than Adolf Hitler in power but that doesn't mean there aren't better solutions. Like e.g. Earth 2160's XP style activation*, install, activate (can be done over the phone as well), done. No need to start a launcher, no need to connect to the net ever again, no CD
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Steam has gone from being "stuff Valve thinks is good" to "any old shite"... I'm looking at Gun here.
    This is pretty bad for the indie stuff on Steam (Defcon, The Ship). Before this it was like Valve was recommending it which is a pretty big deal for games without a marketing budget, now it's clear that it's just about cash.

    P.S. The Steam-alike Triton service closed and they had to give out boxed copies of everything. Digital distribution isn't a rosy a future as many think.
    • I don't usually say this in defense of anonymous cowards, but this one deserves to be modded up. (check the IP addys of the post, I'm not related or even the same coward.) This person has a very short yet accurate view on what the state of downloadble games has become. Anyone with the knowledge to break an encrypted key and generate valid encrypted keys that may match someone else's account is UNACCEPTABLE. In this case, we should be suing for a bait-and-switch, even when we can prove we own the games with
      • ...And I made the statement myself!!!!! Maybe we need a gamer ID number that spreads across a world-wide database that runs BSD or something that is FAR from hackable, then at least some people can get what they paid for. :( I'm unhappy with my HL2 Bronze purchase... can you blame me? I bought the game, only to find out my serial was already registered and I couldn't play the game no matter what proof I offered! (I threw the 6 CDs away, and went back to good ol'free Enemy Territory, and counted my game purc
      • by @madeus (24818)
        I bought the game, only to find out my serial was already registered and I couldn't play the game no matter what proof I offered!

        That is annoying, and I've had that happen to me, it's almost impossible to prevent though (regardless of the sophistication of the algorithm used to validate keys).

        You should simply have taken it back to the store where you purchased it from. They are the only ones (typically) legally obligated to give you a refund or replacement (and in most western countries they are legally re
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        What the hell are you talking about, he never said anything about that!
  • People can steal Steam accounts (guess the password, keylogger etc.), which means a lot more than losing say a battle.net key. It means you've lost all your games -- I've not seen any positive outcomes at the end of such instances on Steam's forums either.
    • by aiken_d (127097)
      If I get hit with a keylogger, I am a *lot* more concerned with my online banking, SSN and other identity theft fodder, and confidential biz emails than I am with someone making off with a couple of my games.

      -b
    • by Khyber (864651)
      Thank god you realize this, Ash. My Steam account was stolen (even with a ten-alpha/num character PW) and i've had no recourse as of yet for games I legally purchased. (HL2 Bronze, and even my original HL key (probably keygen'd by some asshole) are FUBAR.)
      • by Sigma 7 (266129)

        My Steam account was stolen (even with a ten-alpha/num character PW) and i've had no recourse as of yet for games I legally purchased.

        Reclaiming a Hijacked Steam Account [steampowered.com]

        Most likely, one of the following happened:

        • Someone used a keylogger
        • Someone used your personal computer account.
        • Someone used a hacking beam [schlockmercenary.com] on your computer.

        In any case, you should contact Valve customer support ASAP with the information shown on the support page.

  • eye heart steam (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday October 13, 2006 @03:09PM (#16429291) Homepage Journal
    I used to be the biggest naysayer of Steam, but now that I have a stable internet connection I just love it. I purchased Psychonauts for $20 this morning and all 3.5GB were downloaded in under 3 hours. I can't wait to get home to play it without requiring a CD in the drive.

    Thus far Valve is a great publisher\distributor and I have no qualms about giving them my loyalty as a conusmer. However, it's a little disturbing to see in the EULA that I do not own any of the games I've paid for - I only rent them. I admire 3D Realms for shipping boxed copies to anyone who bought Prey over the now defunct Triton online distribution service, and I sincerely hope Valve will provide at least a means of playing games the sad day Steam evaporates.
    • 3.5 GB in under three hours? Exactly where do you live and what ISP are you using, because I can't get that at max speed on a full 10 mbit duplex network in that amount of time. If you're not in the US, then, well, what can I say, other than your analogy won't apply to most of us USA residents? The math doesn't work out, at all.

      • "3.5 GB in under three hours? Exactly where do you live and what ISP are you using, because I can't get that at max speed on a full 10 mbit duplex network in that amount of time. If you're not in the US, then, well, what can I say, other than your analogy won't apply to most of us USA residents? The math doesn't work out, at all."

        3.5 GB in under three hours is easy on 10 Mbit FD. It depends on the source though. 10 Mbit = 1.25 MByte/sec, so 1.25*60=75 Mbyte/min, making 4500 MB/hr, let's say at 75% efficie
      • Umm.... maybe your math doesn't

        10mb ethernet = ~.8 MB/sec
        3500MB / .8 = ~4375.36 seconds
        4375.36 = ~ 1.2 hours

        or the reverse
        3500MB * 8 (convert MB to mb) = 28000mb
        28000mb/ 10800 (seconds in 3 hours) = ~2.592mb/sec sustained required over 3 hours
        • "Umm.... maybe your math doesn't

          10mb ethernet = ~.8 MB/sec
          3500MB / .8 = ~4375.36 seconds
          4375.36 = ~ 1.2 hours

          or the reverse
          3500MB * 8 (convert MB to mb) = 28000mb
          28000mb/ 10800 (seconds in 3 hours) = ~2.592mb/sec sustained required over 3 hours"

          Looks like you screwed up your megabits to megabytes conversion there, sparky:
          http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=10+megabi t+in+megabytes&btnG=Search [google.com]

          Maybe you should actually check your numbers before correcting someone, eh?
          • by jared9900 (231352)
            Not to be too nitpicky, but his estimate was low (yeah, off by .45 MB/sec) which means his estimated time is actually longer than necessary (assuming perfect conditions).
            So to redo his math:
            10mb ethernet = 1.25 MB/sec
            2500MB/ 1.25MB/s = 2800 seconds
            2800 s in hours = 7/9 of an hour, a little more than 45 minutes
          • Umm... have you ever been able to get 1.25MB through a 10mb connection? You can't, there's a reason I put a "~" in front of the 8, that character stands for approximately, and approximately .8MB is the effective maximum bandwidth of data that you can get through a 10mb isp connection. Packet headers alone take up ~6% of the theoretcial max, then you start adding in switch latency for each packet, etc and you get ranges from ~80-94% of theoretical max. If you have cheap nics, switches, small packet size,
            • I was perfectly prepared to extend this argument...then I realized we weren't meant to be arguing. I'm sorry for jumping at you, your original reply was to the guy I replied to, and I mis-read your response. Your estimate was even more unkind then mine at 64% data efficiency (.8/1.25) and it still falls within the capabilities of the 10Mbit connection (~2.5 MBit/s).
      • I get 600KB/s (that's kilobyte) downstream.

        600KB/s x 60 seconds = 36MB/minute
        36MB/m x 60 minutes = 2.16GB/hour

        The game appeared to be about half done after just over an hour, and when I checked back after 3 hours it was completely downloaded. I live in Toronto, Canada, and my ISP is Rogers. We get 600KB down and 80KB up.
      • At a constant 350KB/sec, he could download 3.5GB in 3 hours or less.

        Sample math:
        350 kilobytes per second multiplied by 60 is 21,000 kilobytes per minute

        21,000 kilobytes per minute multiplied by 60 is 1,260,000 kilobytes per hour

        1,260,000 kilobytes per hour multiplied by 3 is 3,780,000 kilobytes in 3 hours

        My $40/month cable connection has been able to do 350k/sec for the last 8 years, how much exactly are you paying for that full 10mbit duplex connection you claim to be using.
  • Though I have reservations on what should happen if your account was hacked or Valve went out of business, Steam is by far the slickest online delivery mechanism I've seen. If I had to gripe is that I've tried to buy stuff on there before and my credit card has been rejected. But for demo delivery and ease of use, it takes some beating.
    • It's called "Quit relying upon computers and start doing human-checking to make sure the owner is who they say they are," something almost *ANY* company is too lazy to deal with - witness our outsourcing of serious problems to script-readers who will say "I need you to turn on your computer and tell me your CMOS/BIOS settings" when everytime the computer gets turned on the fucker starts smoking and burning, usually from a bad power supply. I'm not joking, my father and I both worked at Ingram Micro, and we
  • Valve is on the right track with Steam and it, as well as work-alikes, will become the primary way of distributing most games in the future. The reason behind this is simple; Money.

    As game budgets continue to grow, often exponentially, developers will have to find ways to minimize costs while maximizing profits. Requirements are only getting larger, both in programming and art; the new consoles place higher demand on looks and features than ever before, and a AAA game can now easily reach 8 figures.

    There ar
    • As game budgets continue to grow, often exponentially, developers will have to find ways to minimize costs while maximizing profits.

      The industry's assumption seems to be that games have to be developed with the budgets of Hollywood movies. Yet they don't seem to be getting better overall... Well, that's an old rant, but the point is that developers can also be innovative by finding new ways to use what are now old-school graphics standards.
      Imagine what Oblivion could've been if the effort that went into
    • by KDR_11k (778916)
      Or option 4, think up a way to make games make as much money as movies do (which only "lose" money due to creative accounting). That means widely available hardware, low per-copy costs (few would buy a DVD at 50-60$, why do games cost that much?) and more working with merchandise and advertising.
  • Don't know that much about Steam. Can I buy a game, download it, burn it to CD, and then never need to talk to them again?

    If so, great.
    If not, they can pound sand.
    • by dupont54 (857462)
      When reinstalling the backup on another computer, it will need to phone home to reactivate. Basic download copy protection behavior.
      So no, you will have to talk to them again sooner or later (and hope they're still there and in a good mood).

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